Bicaz Gorge – the road carved in the mountain

The Bicaz Gorge is the most spectacular gorge in Romania with its 8 km of ravines and vertical walls carved by the power of nature. The road and River Bicaz try to fit the narrow canyon.

Connection between Transylvania and Moldova

The 12C road accommodated in the canyon of Bicaz is connecting historical provinces of Transylvania and Moldova and is part of the “Cheile Bicazului-Hasmas National Park”. It has a historical meaning and also a breath-taking view.

Situated at 1256 m it is a very popular destination, being both practical to cross from one region to another and also magnificent as it offers amazing views of the power of nature.

Visit Bicaz Gorges

From Gheorgheni you start your ascent to the scenic Bucin pass – the crossing of Hasmas Mountain.

After some time you will reach the Red Lake (Lacul Rosu), full of mystery and drama with all the petrified tree trunks raising from the water. As soon as you exit the village you start your initiation in this sharp and steep gorge.

Spectacular view with sheer cliffs rising literally from the edges of the road, sometimes even above the road making the drivers and pedestrian to make a concession and avoid the contact with the rock.

This scenic drive will take you to a road that in flanked by 300m-high limestone rocks and you have to stop because driving it’s just not enough. You have to stop to convince yourself this is all real. If you come here in summer, the cool air will make you want to stay even more.

After you pass Bicaz Gorge and you are in Neamt County and you can visit the amazing Lake Bicaz. This is an artificial dam guarded by the hills that offers amazing sunsets.

Bicaz Gorge itinerary

We visited the Gorges so many times, but the first time I remember we crossed the gorges with the car and I couldn’t believe my eyes the beauty I just saw, so we paused our Toura itinerary and we went back to take it all in again. I simply could not grasp all the beauty, I needed more time between the rocky edges to convince myself it is real. You can see our Bicaz Gorge on our Toura itinerary along with other great places in the area: Red Lake, Bicaz Lake, Borsec City and Mohos Peat Bog.

Mohos Peat Bog – walking on the water experiment

I loved Tinovul Mohos (Mohos Peat Bog) from the first moment I understood its meaning. Besides the fact that the hole place looks out of this world, just understanding the genesis, will give you goosebumps.

Long long time ago, The Volcano Mohos erupted and in the crater left behind there a lake formed. After some time, The Saint Ana Volcano erupted and covered with ash the lake in the Mohos Crater. From then 7 meters of ash and peat created a surface above the lake. A few plants adapted to this very acid, very poor soil and they create a dwarf like landscape.

Walking here is like you are in a children story, where dragons have burnt everything in their way. The dwarf pine which is the only one surviving in this environment looks wretched and almost dead, just a few hints tell you that they live, but their height is not bigger than 6 meters.

Besides the dwarf pine there are some other small plants adapted to the life in the peat:  bog-rosemary, bog cranberry, blueberry and some carnivorous plants.

At the entrance in Mohos Peat Bog, you will meet your guide and you will enter together. There are entrances each hour. The guide spoke with us in Romanian and Hungarian, but I hope they have a version in English too. Both of the guides we had were great story tellers and funny, they answer you questions, they teach you a lot of things and tell a lot of bear jokes.

After a 10 minutes of information you enter the peat over a wooden bridge, and afterwards on wood steps that will guide your visit inside. If you step outside them your foot will submerge in the moss carpet impregnated with water like a sponge. We first realized it because we entered with our dog and she doesn’t step exactly on the wood , and her feet would sing a few centimeters and then we tried on our own.

They say this is the wild animal way across the peat, the know where to step in order not to sink, but in other area the risk is real. But this path is constructed right at the edge of the peat with access to 2 most amazing lakes.

As you enter the peat you can see how the forest changes, from green tall tress as you enter into an area with the dwarf pine, struggling to survive. And as you watch in the distance you can map the exact limits of the peat because the vegetation changes drastically. The blueberries area is next, and from here to the first lake.

There used to be around 200 + lakes, while now are there are only 15 left. In this trip you get to see 2 of them. The lakes in Mohos Peat Bog have a special petrol-like look – a dark blue that is completely opaque and seems denser that water. These lake communicate with the underground lake with a hourglass-shape of 22 height.

You are standing on a wood bridge and looking at the lake from any position you can not take a pick to see what it is inside, only the reflection of the sky and the forest.

And you realize that beneath you is a huge underground lake and only a 10 meters layer of peat separates you from the 10 million liters of water, and this water is an example of who the tar-like water.

From here you go to the next lake and you get to see the carnivorous plants better because of the opens of the area. Then you exit, not before you wind int he wooden path created in the dense pine forest.

The guide will wait here an you exit the peat and return to the starting point on a dirt road.

Due to high acidity of the water and of the soil, due to the volcanic origin, everything in this place look from a different story. it is a place where the underground sends messages to the surface, where everything is connected

To sum up the hole experience, you walk in the crater of a volcano that become a lake and it was covered by ash and peat so now you can walk on this thin ground and in order not to sink, there is a wooden path you have to follow. Are you up for it? Not that is dangerous, but it definitely is exciting.

The Mohos Peat Bog is situated at 1050 meters altitude, 100 meters higher that Lake Saint Anne. I suggest from here you go to visit the lake. You have all the information in our Toura itinerary in Harghita and Covasna County

Visit Mohos Peat Bog

If you want to visit the Mohos Peat Bog, follow our itinerary on the map. As you arrive in the area you will pay a parking tax of 10 lei (2 euro) for the car. After parking you go to buy tickets – 5 lei /person (1 euro). The entrance is every 2 hours: 10:00, 12:00, 14:00, 16:00, 18:00. I think when it is busy the guided tours are each hour.

I said you something about walking on water and I was not kidding. here is the proof from our itinerary recording:

As long as you are in the area visit some of the most beautiful villages in Romania .

Turda Salt Mine – the man-made underground constellation

It really is hard to imagine what it will be like when you go underground to Turda Salt Mine. I’m sure you’ve seen pictures, you’ve been inspired to tackle the subject, but they are all bits and pieces. The place is so big that it is really hard to capture the hole thing in one picture: it is on different levels and huge heights, so no picture or movie can do it justice.

With a little imagination you can spend an entire day in this place, it is even recommended. The salty air is good for all kind of respiratory health problems. They have all kinds of facilities to keep you and your kids busy – a football/baseball field, mini gulf course, several ping pong tables, places to rent equipment, a roller coaster, a large amphitheater, a lake with boats, 10 floors of stairs that you are recommended to use as you go in and out. So this people really want to make you loose a sweat in here, but it is for your own good. Despite the healthy benefits, there is a benefit for the eyes. It is truly an art installation made from light in this re-purposed m

This mine had different purposes in time. It started as a salt exploitation during the roman period. As you know salt was important for Romans, it was a currency, people used to be paid in salt. During its lifetime it was a storage for food and cheese due to controlled temperature and antiseptic properties of salt, but i was also a deposit for bombs during WW2.

Three billion tons of dislocated salt, has left behind a space to be filled by human imagination. From a very pragmatic purpose of excavating salt to a very artsy perspective over the underground world.

I don’t any other place below the earth where human hand can do a better job than nature, except this marvelous place where humans have overtake nature by creating this underground constellation.

Once you go inside you will be reborn under the zodiac sign of salt and light – in a way the two essential elements of life.

As you go in the passage takes you from a man made structure, to a salty and curved ceiling.

Then you reach the first mining rooms, and the traditional area, where everything is kept as it was. Most fascinating here is how the salt took over everything in its way. Wood, metal, string, doesn’t matter, the salt gradually cover it in a cauliflower-like coating.

From here you have to go 13 floors down. Each floor has a balcony and you see gradually how the lights unfolds before your eyes. I recommend taking the stairs down and up. will give you plenty photo spots and time to take in the view and the salty air.

You have reached the playful level, as I told you in the beginning of the article. Enjoy the time here, spear at least 2 hours of your time and pick your sport of choice. And then sit and admire the natural elements: the gradient of the salt, the noodle-like stalactites coming from the ceiling and forming a chandelier

From here there is another layer down to Terezia Mine, where you reach the underground lake and the wood houses shaped like hedgehog. You go down and you cross a bridge reaching the island in the middle of the lake. From here you can rent a boat and paddle around. This gives you time to reflect about some facts: you are 70 meters below the surface, paddling in a boat, at the light of futuristic fixtures with structure that belong to a sci-fi movie. Take a deep breath and keep moving around, take pictures and enjoy this once in a lifetime experience.

Next would be to climb the 13 floors up. There is an elevator, but it is always crowded and it will deprive you of the full experience.

Preparing to go:

  • I recommend to go weekdays and when there no public holiday. It is after all the most visited place in Romania. To really enjoy this it and to take it in (so to speak), you need some room.
  • dress warmly because underground temperature is constant around 10 degrees. Especially if you want to spend more time. You have a lot of means to get warn, but don;t count only on that (paddle boat, 13 floors of stairs, ping pong, and many others).
  • prices are:
    • adult admission 30 RON (6 euro)
    • child admission 15 RON (3 euro)
    • parking 5 RON (1 euro)
    • 20 minute boat 15 RON (3 euro)
    • 30 minutes ping pong 10 RON (2 euro)

Turda Salt Mine is a unique experience from anything you have known or seen before. It is really hard to share the feeling of the deep, wide underground emptiness filled with floating lighting. It is an experience you have to make for yourself, with time and patience, one breath at a time.

If you find yourself not resisting the temptation to put Turda Salt Mine on your next trip, then consider the following:

  • Apuseni Mountains
  • Rosia Montana
  • Detunata Goala
  • Pisoaia Waterfall
  • Transuroaia Road
  • Brides’ Veil Waterfall
  • Bear Cave
  • Rusty Pit
  • Ice Cave from Scarisoara
  • Rimetea Village
  • Turda Gorges

See our Toura itinerary in Apuseni Mountains including Turda Salt Mine and the above landmarks :